2023 World Baseball Classic odds preview: Will the United States defend its title?

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Lars Nootbaar of Japan reacts at his team bench in 8th inning during the Pool B game between Japan and China at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) at the Tokyo Dome Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The 2023 World Baseball Classic is already underway as America’s Pastime returns to the big stage for the first time in six years. Pool A and Pool B have been busy battling it out over the last few days with Pools C and D set to start their highly-anticipated showdowns in the coming days.

The United States will be looking to defend its 2017 title this year, but it faces some stiff competition from other countries across the world. This is highlighted by the fact that the Americans (+250) aren’t the betting favorite to go back-to-back at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The favorite as of March 9 is the Dominican Republic at +220 odds and Japan following closely behind at +240. These two countries, along with the United States, are the only ones to ever win the World Baseball Classic.

The Dominican roster is largely viewed as the most complete of any team in the tournament. It has star power in its pitching staff with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins, and notable names throughout its lineup with Juan Soto (San Diego Padres), Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners), Manny Machado (Padres) and many others.

Meanwhile, Japan has arguably the best and most complete player in the world, Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels). Ohtani has already led Japan to its first win of the tournament, an 8-1 dismantling of China. The Angels superstar tallied 2 RBIs at the plate in addition to throwing four shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out five.

The United States, led by captain Mike Trout (Angels), is the only other country with better than 10-to-1 odds to win the tournament. There are question marks about whether or not Mark DeRosa’s squad has enough pitching to compete with the likes of the aforementioned powerhouses. The Americans begin their title defense on Saturday against Great Britain.

Venezuela, led by Houston Astros star Jose Altuve, is seen as the “best of the rest” with +1200 odds to emerge victorious. The 2013 and 2017 Runner-Up Puerto Rico (+2000) is on the outside looking in at the tournament favorites.

Mexico (+1800) and The Netherlands (+3300) could also make some noise with Major League Baseball-heavy rosters.

Here is the full list of odds for the complete 2023 World Baseball Classic field:

2023 World Baseball Classic Winner

Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook as of Thursday afternoon

Dominican Republic +220

Japan +240

United States +250

Venezuela +1200

Mexico +1800

Puerto Rico +2000

The Netherlands +3300

Korea Republic +3400

Italy +7500

Canada +10000

Australia +11000

Colombia +12000

Cuba +12000

Israel +25000

Panama +25000

Nicaragua +40000

Chinese Taipei +50000

Czech Republic +50000

Great Britain +50000

China +100000

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